The Difference Between DSLR & SLT Cameras

The Difference Between DSLR & SLT Cameras

For many years, the world of amateur and professional photography has been dominated by digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR’s). But in 2010 an entirely new type of camera emerged on the scene. Single-lens translucent cameras (SLT’s) were first developed by Sony, and premiered in their Alpha range to considerable critical acclaim.

The quality of the images captured by SLT cameras is similar to that of digital SLR cameras, but there are a number of important differences in the way they operate and the results they produce.

What Makes SLT Cameras Different?

Digital SLR cameras use a mechanical mirror system to reflect the image that will be captured to the viewfinder. When the shutter button is pressed this mirror system moves out of the way to allow light from the lens to enter the camera’s sensor. When the exposure is complete the mirror moves back into place, ready for the user to line up the next shot. During the time it takes for the shutter to open and close and the mirror system to swing back, the viewfinder is blank.

A single-lens translucent camera does not use mirrors to relay the image to the photographer. Instead, an electronic viewfinder displays the image received by the sensor.

For the purposes of phase detection auto-focusing, SLT cameras uses a single translucent mirror in front of the sensor. This mirror allows light to reach the sensor at all times, while directing a portion of it towards the camera’s auto-focus system.

Advantages of SLT Cameras

SLT cameras have a number of unique selling points that modern photographers find beneficial. Because SLT cameras use a single-fixed mirror rather than a series of moving mirrors, camera shake caused by mechanical action is eliminated. SLT cameras are also often lighter and more compact because of this simplified system. The result? Sharper, clearer pictures with minimum risk of blurring due to camera shake.

The most significant benefit of this new technology is apparent when taking action or sports shots. Because the number of operations taking place within the camera during exposure are reduced, SLT cameras can capture a series of images at a significantly faster rate than digital SLR cameras – up to 10 frames per second. This significantly reduces the chance of a moving image ‘smearing’ across the picture – crucial if you’re looking for sharp action shots.

The translucent mirror system also enables the camera’s phase-detection auto focus system to operate continuously. The result of this is that seamless auto-focusing is made possible, even during video capture and burst shooting. Furthermore, the electronic viewfinder displays the image continuously, rather than blacking out momentarily as with DSLRs.

Disadvantages of SLTs

Some people will inevitably favour one type of the camera over the other, depending on the type of shots they will be concentrating on.

Photographers who are used to shooting with digital SLR cameras may miss the optical viewfinder. In addition to this, because a certain amount of available light is being redirected to the auto-focusing system, less light reaches the camera sensor than would be the case with a DSLR. While this is not normally a problem, if you do a lot of photography in low light conditions then you may find that you have to adjust the shutter speed or ISO settings to compensate.

What to look for when buying an SLT camera

As discussed above, one of the main advantages of SLT cameras is their ability to take a series of high speed action shots with near-perfect auto-focus. To get the full benefits of this, select a model which features a dedicated burst mode at 10fps.

Another major selling point of SLTs is that they can take HD video with accurate and constant auto-focusing, so it’s always worth making sure that the camera offers this feature.

Finally, if you plan on using your camera for night-time photography, it may be worthwhile purchasing an SLT camera with a larger sensor to compensate for the loss of light redirected to the auto-focus system.

14 Responses to “The Difference Between DSLR & SLT Cameras”

  1. Vikas Mehar says:

    If you are a beginner and have no idea of photography then go for Sony A58. It is very easy to use and learn photography. Other members of your family can also take pictures directly in auto mode. I am using alpha 58 from last 1 year and didn’t get any problem..

  2. vishwajeet G says:

    I was very impressed with features provided by DSLT camera. So i just broke the traditional DSLR CONSTRAINT and switched to sony A-58.

    Though i knew sony has delicate hardware. After one year of purchase i am very much satisfied with hardware and sturdiness.

    quality : 8 on 10
    Speed : 10 on 10
    Built : 9 on 10
    VIDEO HD : 7 on 10
    Worth over price : far more satisfied.

    I often shoot photos of children playing.
    With 18-55 & 55-200 lens kit. I have the best range to achieve my shots.

    What I’m really amazed with is battery backup (full charging in 2 hours) and
    # 3fps shots with built-in flash.

    #Sharp and quick auto focus…
    #Higher ISO RANGES
    #Smile shutter & tripod makes this camera a miracle
    #Smart mode :best for ladies and naives to handle on occassions


    No other friends use sony. So buy lenses on your own. No interchanging possible.

    Accessories are bit expensive and may have availability issues.( i suggest to buy all accessories one time)

  3. Arun says:

    i am looking forward to buy a good camera. confused betwee- nikon 5100 , sony slt a 37 and Canon 600D

    • Kyriacos says:

      Personally I will NOT buy a Sony. They may look great in specs price and reviews but are very delicate.
      I did not study the specs of slt a 37 but as far as I know for example Sony claims lets say a burst mode of 10 fps this is far from true it is achieve under certain conditions etc. normally burst (continuous shooting ) is about 5-6 fps. They also break down much more often than Nikon and Canon. Since slt cameras have no shutter the censor is behind the mirror and is uncover for sure after some time one of the two will get dust and dirty and everything will appear on photos. Also no shutter means some other disadvantages. Personally I should go for Nikon they feel and are more sturdy and reliable great support and accessories very easy to use and much more Canon are really very close. Both are the top marques.

      • erika says:

        I’ve had my Sony A37 for almost two years now and everything’s been perfect. The only thing that’s a bit annoying is that the battery doesn’t last that long (it lasts about 12 hrs.)

      • Carol Dawkins says:

        I have had my Sony DSLR a350 for about six has never gone wrong or broken in any way. i do have a scratch on one of my lenses, but that is in no way a fault in the camera. I am currently looking at upgrading due to it only being a 14.2 megapixel camera, but I am still getting very good results from it for what it is.

  4. ved says:

    what is meaning of selling point in slt cameras

  5. Kyriacos says:

    SLT has some more disadvantages. Electronic viewfinder will never be accurate when need of manual focus for small subjects, try for example to focus on a small branch. Also mirror is very sensitive and when dust and durt sit on mirror its so difficult to clean and it will show on your pictures.

  6. JP says:

    I am only into phone cameras or non-professional digital cameras before. Had a hard decision if SLT or SLR but I never regret in chossing SLT. I’ve been using my A55 for a few months now. Played with it & manage to do satisfactory low-light shots. I found it best on high-speed shots

  7. Emma Hixton says:

    Wahoo. I’m luckily found this honorable mention. Read the excellent tutorial and learn more info about both DSLR & SLT Cameras though until I had no idea. By the way I can decide to buy SLT. I wanted to know that it provide so many advantages. Thanks!

  8. Andy says:

    I agree that SLT camera is a big step of digital camera evolution. Perhaps can be regarded as a revolution. It’s a bit regret that I am using Nikon gears and uncertain when the first SLT camera from Nikon will be released. 🙁

  9. Phil says:

    I think I like the old SLRs better, but hey, that’s just me

    • Paul Salmon says:

      To each their own. Many people like their older cameras better. They may feel comfortable with them, know their nuances, and just figure that the photos they take with it are great just the way they are.

  10. Andrew Walker says:

    I really had no idea about the difference between DSLR and SLT camera before. I have a DSLR camera in my house but never use it. It belongs to my brother. He left it when he was assigned for military service in Afghanistan. Thanks for the information.

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